Second-year student Samantha Clark, a writer, editor, and photographer, has been awarded the third annual Jim Marshall Fellowship for photojournalism.
As she kicks off her final year of graduate school, Clark has been focusing on photo editing, which includes working with photographers and overseeing the visual side of the editorial process.
“This is an important and noble occupation and we need smart, communicative, and visually literate editors,” says Ken Light, Reva & David Logan Professor of Photojournalism. “It is my hope that by Sam’s holding the Jim Marshall Fellowship she will have the opportunity to dive deep in this field with this financial support.”
Jim Marshall, a pioneering photographer of the 20th Century pop culture scene, gained acclaim for capturing some of the music industry’s most memorable moments. His images became icons of rock ‘n’ roll in themselves—Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar ablaze, Johnny Cash giving the finger at San Quentin, the Beatles’ final concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.
The Jim Marshall Fellowship was established in 2015 to raise money for students doing exceptional work in photography. Funding for the past two year’s fellowships was provided by former reporter and legendary adman and wordsmith Jeff Goodby.
“Jim had an amazing photographic eye and a dedication to finding the visual rhythm of the musicians he photographed,” says Light. “He was a great editor, and Sam is a good choice for this fellowship, as she is dedicated to storytelling and the visual world.”
Though new to photography, Clark has always been on track to be a journalist. A South Bay native, she went to San Jose State University, where she studied journalism and history. After a series of reporting internships, she covered the environment and county government at the Santa Cruz Sentinel and freelanced in audio, with work airing on local and national programs.
“But being a reporter never felt quite right,” she said. “When I started to learn more about photo editing here at the J-School, something just clicked.”
After being exposed to different media during the first semester at Berkeley, she picked up a camera and fell in love with visual storytelling. From there, she started seeing more photography exhibitions, sitting in on art history courses and collecting photography zines and books. She also recently interned at ViewFind, a visual storytelling publisher, and spent most of the last year helping Light curate a show on social movement photography.
“Working with Ken, I got a taste of the hard decisions that editors have to make, balancing content with aesthetics,” says Clark. “I’ve learned so much.”
“Going in a new direction sometimes can be a bit daunting,” says Clark. “I really appreciate having this support and that of the J School.”
“To me it’s a delight to see the continuing vigor of our photojournalism program, exemplified by students of Samantha’s quality,” says Dean Ed Wasserman, adding that this is particularly important in an era of rampant iPhone photography, where the idea has taken root that just about anybody can take good pictures. “In fact, it takes hard work to achieve mastery, and I’m glad we can reward a promising student who is putting in that kind of effort.”
–Alex Orlando (’18)